Keeping the vision of God’s kingdom alive in our hearts and receiving the joy He gives can only be achieved by surrendering and saying ‘yes’ to God. The Christmas story shows us how Mary and Joseph responded to God’s amazing plan for their lives. Dave looked at the Christmas story again this week (Matt 1:18-25, Luke 1:38). Saying ‘yes’ for Mary involved risking being ostracised by her family and rejected by Joseph, but the risk was worth it, though she must have had to ponder long and hard over the mysteries that were beyond human understanding. The role of Joseph is often overlooked as lacking in importance, but he supported Mary, gave Jesus legitimacy, and nurtured and protected the gift of God’s love.

It can be hard to believe what God tells us. We are often limited by the pain we feel, having been hurt so many times in the past that we find ourselves unwilling to risk accepting love again for fear of further pain and rejection. We have to decide whether pain and suffering have meaning in God; they can either drag us down or draw us closer to God. When we say ‘yes’ to God’s love and to His will, our lives can be transformed.

Christmas time can be incredibly stressful for many people who are weighed down by other people’s expectations and the feeling that reality does not match the idealistic views we have of a time of peace and goodwill. Ultimately, though, we need to understand that all that really matters is saying ‘yes’ to God and making room in our lives for Him. Hope, peace, joy and love are gifts He gives to us, not demands placed upon us. When we surrender to God, He brings order out of chaos and life out of death. Let’s continually surrender to Him and let His will be done, on earth, in our lives, as in heaven.